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Solution # 2 - The ability to manipulate their data into different formats.

Any trader whom has been trading for any length of time quickly begins accumulating data that will be in different formats. Some of the more commonly encountered formats are: OMZ, XPO, MetaStock, CompuTrac, CSI, AIQ, CQG, DialData, and so on. The data format utilized is dependant upon the charting application used. Should the trader desire to switch to or use different charting or analysis applications it often means they must maintain multiple databases of the same data in different formats. This expensive and inconvenient!  

History of Data Formats

The first significant professional end of day and real time computerized charting application was CompuTrac. This program sold for several thousand dollars, and was a DOS based operating system. In order to store real time and end of day data the designers of CompuTrac created a data format. This data format would dictate how the data was stored on the traders hard disk. Naturally enough it was called "CompuTrac format"! Simultaneously an end of day data vendor came into existence which catered to the professional traders whom were attracted to the CompuTrac charting application. It can be stated that these were professional traders as the other charting app's cost less that $500. Within a fairly short period of time this format became the "defacto" standard to format financial prices in. As an aside, this DOS based charting application is in many ways superior to today's charting applications as DOS was a much more "real time" operating system than Windoz.

The designers of MetaStock of course would hear no such thing, so they created their own format which they called - surprise, surprise "MetaStock format". As time went by other charting application designers/creators all created their own format. Consequently today there are traders that have historical data that they paid good money for which is totally and absolutely unusable as the charting application they are now using does not work (or work very well) with this "other" format.

The primary reason all of these formats were created was so that the space required by the price database would be minimal. This was in era of when the computer that ran CompuTrac were measured its' hard disk size in Megabytes and often less than 10MB!! Do you remember the IBM AT? Not only were these hard disk extremely small they were very expensive. This was the primary reason for NOT storing data in ASCII format, and creating a slightly compressed format. 

The data vendors that sprang up in response to these computerized traders needing large amounts of historical data also liked these hodgepodge of formats as it meant that each subscriber could download their data faster. This translated into fewer modems, phone lines, and computers thereby increasing their profits. Not only did it translate to fewer hardware requirements, it also meant that the vendor could re-sell the same data to the same customer should the customer switch charting applications - sweet deal for the vendor! The baud rate of these early modems were often under 1,200! The traders also appreciated these formats (at least till they realized they were married to that format) as they had to typically call a long distance number to access the data vendors database. Consequently their long distance phone bill to Ma Bell (ATT was still a monolith) were thereby reduced.

Today's Real Time Data Collection Reality

Today's reality is significantly different. No one access's a data vendors database by calling a long distance number. No one has a modem slower than 56K, with the vast majority are using a high speed internet connection (cable, wireless, or DSL). The size of a Gig of hard disk space continues to plummet. Yet, there is still no common standard to store compressed pricing data, and in reality there is little need for compressed data.

Many traders will have a multitude of different charting applications each using a data format that is not compatible with the other. In addition many traders like to use Micro$oft's Excel spreadsheet for various statistical studies. However, none of the historical data is useable in Excel because Excel is not able to recognize the format.

The Solution:

DataSharks created a program that will convert data in one format into another data format without a loss of integrity. This will allow traders to rightly re-claim the data they paid for and use it in whatever application they desire. DataSharks is constantly expanding the number of convertible formats, please check our product page for current information on supported formats.

To see the specifications of the software click here.

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